I first learned of Philip Francis from a music video he had posted on You Tube titled “Take it Easy, Manos Style” in June 2010, which can be seen right here. Take it Easy: Torgo Style
I contacted Philip through the wonders of the internet and he gave me a phone number asking that I call to discuss a project he was working on. When I called, the person who answered had me hold while he got another guy with an odd New Zelandish/ Australian type accent who told me his name was Rupert Munch Senior. He said he was the guy who created the music video and who played Torgo. He went on to say he had several projects in the works concerning Manos and wanted to know if I would be interested in participating. I told him that I was interested in anything Manos. About then, the accent dropped and he revealed he was the initial person who had answered the phone. A bit eccentric, but what the hell. It’s about Manos. He told me he had attended ComicCon as Torgo and had the idea he would continue developing his version of the character. He was hoping to connect with Rifftrax, Cinamatic Titanic and anyone else in an effort to create some projects with support. Torgo at San Diego Comic Con Over the next year he wrote a script that included my dad and I and anyone else from the original he could find. We spoke often as his plan developed and he went on and on about how, if his film ever made money that my dad and I would be compensated with percentages that are unheard of in the movie business and how everyone thought he was crazy to offer so much, that nobody but him would do such a thing. All verbally and without stating what kind of numbers he was talking about. We would share in all the merchandising and that he had already worked a deal with an action figure company to make our action figures. He asked if I would be interested as an artist to create the art and many of the props for his film as my dad did in the original. I would be able to sell copies of my work with his help and make more money. His script was titled Manos, Search for Valley Lodge and I had agreed to play the lead role of Debbie Morgan, the grown version of little Debbie from the original Manos. He began collecting other notable cast members, found a Director of Photography, put some money together to get started and began making tangible plans for shooting his film. He convinced my dad, Tom Neyman to reprise his role of the Master in a cameo scene and sent him $500.00 as an enticement. In May 2011 he came to Oregon for 4 days to shoot my dad’s scene because my dad was unwilling to travel away from his family. The group that came to Oregon was Philip, Jay Lee our Director of Photography and a documentary crew who are making a documentary about the sequel to “The Worst Movie Ever Made”. They all stayed at my home and the home of my friend, Rick Zunck who was chosen as Assistant Director of Photography. Philip convinced Joe Warren, Hal Warren’s son (Hal, the director of the original Manos, died in December 1985) to loan us the original Master’s robe he had so my dad could wear it for his scene. We were thrilled to see it again and to know it had been so well cared for, but were sad to have to send it back since that was the deal Philip had made. That was when we learned that Joe had The Masters painting and it, too was safe, but we would never have it back either.
If I was blind to all the red flags up to then, I should have seen them on that first shoot. Four days for one scene. Granted, it was a The Master and Torgo scene, but still.
See you next Torgo Tuesday for part two of this epic and ridiculous story.